Friday, February 24, 2012


The recent runup in gasoline prices to $3.15 wholesale as of 24 February 2012 and the ongoing predictions of further price hikes do not bode well for this feeble economic 'recovery'. If the price of fuel continues to rise, recovery will metamorphose into recession or depression, depending on how strict the definition used.

It appears that warmongering against Iran has a price for United States consumers, as the price hike in fuel is attributed to the hassle. The WMD idea has reared its head again as an excuse for attacking Iran, because they have claimed the right to nuclear energy as a source of electricity for the population. I am in no position to claim that Iran is building a bomb or not, as I am not privy to classified information. Common sense will say that if someone is threatened, then they will take action in defense. One way threatening privileges is not a realistic goal, however.

So the sanctions against Iran went into effect and the world now pays more for fuel as a result. Warmongers on both sides have created another economic crisis for the world as this price hike will also raise food prices and production and delivery costs for everything, as the poor of the world pay for saber rattling and punishing. I actually heard a pundit rejoicing that the Iranian people are suffering due to the economic embargo, like they deserved to be punished for the actions of their leaders who refuse to back down over the nuclear issue. Insensitivity is where hate comes from on both sides. I heard the average Iranian makes $400 a month.

I even heard on TV that the Greek 'crisis' must be paid for with higher energy prices for all, since major oil producers contributed to the bailout fund and they expect to be paid back. Why is Goldman Sachs so into the Greek financial thing? Why not tap the USA for that money just in time for Memorial Day and the summer vacation season?

So is the warmongering worth it? Has anything been accomplished? Is the drain on the USA economy due to higher fuel prices worth what has been gained? Do the people of the USA really want the common people in Iran to suffer? I don't think so. This media manufactured crisis is demanding war when serious diplomacy is always the answer. I'm tired of the press and foreign nations choosing diplomatic issues for our government. I'm tired of the expense of war. This verbal war over nuclear energy in Iran is costing every citizen money every time they fill their gas tank.

It's not worth it. Settle the hassle some other way.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Catholics and Greeks


So the insurance plan format includes contraception, which did not surprise me for the following reasons:

• Cost Effectiveness: contraception is cheaper than pregnancy coverage.

• Social Costs: Population growth is not a desirable outcome when unemployment rates are high.

• Population growth is not a desirable outcome when welfare rolls are high and rising.

• Religious Implications: A church is attempting to dominate what should be a business decision.

• Contraception is legal and is the custom of the people, whether the church likes it or not.

Other implications would encourage discouraging immigration while the unemployment rate is so high. I know the implications of the educated immigrants but our own population needs to be hired. High Tech industries should be ready to invest in educating workers. I am also aware of the social value of welcoming educated immigrants, as it develops ties between the countries.


The Greek economic crisis is now beginning to mention the plight of the people vs the plight of the lienholders. I heard a 40% rise in suicides in Greece. People standing in bread lines. Molotov cocktails within view of the Parthenon. All this to pay debts. A default would put the Greek government within 10% of the needed budget cuts to balance revenue with expenditure. I don't know who those lienholders are or why they are so desperate for money they would actually decimate a whole economy to pay for it, but it's haircut time.

A little research into the Greek entry into the eurozone is in order. Since the Greek government had so much debt upon entry into the zone and the zone was now beholden to pay it off, where was the debt before it became apparent? Did a big investment bank set up a deal that hid the debt? If they did, they should be liable for all Greek default debts. Clean them out. Governments and people are not pawns.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Keystone Pipeline Opinion

The Keystone Pipeline is a controversial issue in the nation and President Obama rejected the pipeline deal after being pressured by Republicans to speed up the decision. Some Republicans want the pipeline. I watched some of the hearings concerning the pipeline and have gleaned a few items about this pipeline.

• Is owned by a Canadian company called TransCanada

• Proposes an oil pipeline from Canada to refineries in Texas

• Plans to use Port Arthur, Texas to export the pipeline products after refining

• Port Arthur, Texas is a free port, which means no tax would be paid on the exports

• The Keystone pipeline official refused to say that these petroleum products would remain in the USA, thus might not assist the goal of energy independence.

• The proposed pipeline routes go through the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides water for this large arid region and some of the pipeline is planned to be in contact with aquifer water, risking the water supply

• Refineries are notorious polluters and the Keystone oil will be corrosive, low quality crude

The following quotes illustrate the corruption around the pipeline. I think a look at campaign donations might reveal a pattern of giving designed to get the pipeline through without really investigating environmental concerns. Corruption in the State Department needs to be addressed and the following quote illustrates political influence around the pipeline.

"The State Department has also faced charges of political conflict of interest over its handling of the Keystone XL application because TransCanada’s chief Washington lobbyist, Paul Elliott, was a top official in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign."

As evidence of the corruption of the laws designed to protect the people from exploitation:

"The State Department allowed TransCanada to solicit and screen bids for the environmental study. At TransCanada’s recommendation, the department hired Cardno Entrix, an environmental contractor based in Houston, even though it had previously worked on projects with TransCanada and describes the pipeline company as a “major client” in its marketing materials." (web address reference below)

Somebody ought to be fired in the State Department for corrupting our government.

As evidence of the intensity of this issue, A Nebraska rancher testified during the hearings that TransCanada had approached landowners along the route of the pipeline and made monetary offers to buy the land. If the landowners didn't take the offer, then TransCanada threatened them with Eminent Domain. I guess TransCanada had enough political backing to ensure that the landowners would be forced to hand over their land. I can imagine how these landowners feel. I deplore the use of eminent domain to force private individuals to hand over their land to other private concerns. It's unamerican.

TransCanada has also threatened our government with another pipeline to their west coast, where ships from the Orient will be glad to load this corrosive oil to haul it to the nearest heavy petroleum refinery. I'm sure the people of that beautiful coast will be glad to get this business and will be confident that no spills will ever occur.

Since I'm not one to criticize without offering a solution: How about TransCanada building a refinery up by where the tar sands are and refining this corrosive crude right there and then selling us the gas and diesel? Sounds like a plan to me.

Dorothy Prater Niemi February 2012